Columns 9.8.2016 10:08 am

Celebrate all women, ‘feminine’ or not

Sibusiso Mkhwanazi

Sibusiso Mkhwanazi

We should appreciate the different strengths of men and women instead of trying to play the one off against the other.

Thanks to today being National Women’s Day, the family and I went down to the KZN coast for an extended weekend, and it was there where the importance of gender equality was reinforced.

It all started with friends of ours watching the Olympics ladies’ Sevens rugby teams in action, and there was constant commentary about how they do not throw the ball properly or need to work on their catching technique. My twins even asked if we were sure we were watching “real” rugby.

While there were those Olympic adverts during the game, we would note how unfeminine the ladies on the various teams looked. Thank goodness looks do not matter in sports, even if you are Caster Semenya.

Everywhere I went, there would always be a group of people – which includes women, by the way – noting how different the female athletes are to the men, as if that is the global standard. No one ever complains about men touching each other’s butts after scoring a try or goal, but most of us have something to say when the ladies’ volleyball teams strut their stuff on the beach in their outfits.

One day, I hope to be part of a society that does not notice these differences between men and women, but rather our different strengths. I am fortunate enough to have a number of strong-willed women in my life – for my safety tonight, I have to single out my beautiful wife – who continues to be an inspiration through the most difficult times in life.

So it still continues to baffle me why a man is considered strong when he lifts a 200kg dumbbell, while a woman can survive through domestic abuse and be seen as weak. Just because a man can throw a punch better, they are perceived as stronger, but when a woman joins the sport of boxing, they are considered too weak to even be given a chance. Where is the logic in that?

Just like a lot of our other holidays, I know that they have probably been reduced to a long weekend here and there, and we sometimes forget the privilege we are enjoying.

Women of all races, shapes and sizes continue to make sure that we have decent mothers, wives, employers, employees, inventors, and the list goes on and on. And so what if they do this differently from men?

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